Sharp drop in youth gangs

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The number of youth gangs in the Netherlands has taken a sharp dive in the last four years according to Minister Ivo Opstelten of Security and Justice in a letter to the House of Representatives. In 2009, there were 1760 active youth gangs. At the end of 2013, this dropped by 56 percent to 764.

Youth gangs in the Netherlands are framed in three categories according to the severity of their antics: bothersome, overly troublesome and criminal. This framing was determined in 2009 via a special report. In all three categories, the number of gangs has dropped, the NOS reports.

Reports reveal that a 'multi-agency' approach is the most effective in the tackling of gangs. Hereby, juvenile delinquents aren't only criminally pursued but also receive care and guidance. Members of the family are also asked to become involved in this.

Youth gangs often rule over entire neighborhoods. They cause a nuisance, use violence and intimidate residents, who are often too scared to report these young people.

Minister Opstelten tells the House of Representatives that tackling youth gangs should remain a priority of the Cabinet. He wants municipalities, the Public Prosecution Authority and the police to keep working together intensively.